Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - October 09, 2009

From: Woodland Hills, CA
Region: California
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Leaves falling off a hibiscus twice a year in Woodland Hills CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have 8 hibiscus bushes and only 1 of them loses its leaves twice a year. Why?

ANSWER:

There are 12 species of Hibiscus native to North America, of which 3 are known to grow in California. It doesn't really matter though, because you almost undoubtedly have one of the many hybrids, and/or imports from other countries. Both the hybridization and being non-native would put them out of our area of expertise, but we can ask you some questions which, when you answer them, could give you a clue to what's going on.

1. How many times has this hibiscus repeated this behavior of dropping leaves twice a year? If it was once, it may have been the result of some change in its environment. If it has happened multiple times, you need to look at where it is growing and how it is growing.

2. What sun does it get? Hibiscus can grow in a little shade, but they do best in full sun; that is, 6 to 8 hours of sun a day. 

3. Is the plant in question growing in the same area as the other 7? If not, what is different about where it is, as opposed to the others? Again, soil moisture, sun, even accidental exposure to a pesticide could have caused the leaf drop.

We found a website called "About Hibiscus", Hibiscus Care, that seems to have the most information on this plant. Read it and compare the conditions considered optimum for hibiscus with the conditions of the plant you are concerned about.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Small shrub with thorns for Austin
February 08, 2010 - I'm looking for a shade-tolerant 2-3' shrub with thorns, native to Texas (ideally central Texas) - an alternative to Barberry? Does such a plant exist?
view the full question and answer

My Mock Orange fails to flower in Redmond, WA.
July 06, 2011 - I planted a Mock Orange shrub about 5 years ago. The first few years, it only produced leaves but no blossoms. Then, last year, it finally produced 4-5 blossoms on 2 of the branches. This year, it a...
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant trees for privacy in Texas
January 09, 2015 - I need to find a deer resistant tall shrub or tree to plant and hide the deer fence my neighbor just put up on our property line. My property has full sun in parts and mostly shady in other parts and ...
view the full question and answer

Yucca rostrata needs some help in Austin, TX.
September 16, 2013 - We planted an expensive 5-6 foot Yucca rostrata last fall. It bloomed beautifully in the spring. We installed an irrigation link to water the recently planted areas with succulents, viburnums, spart...
view the full question and answer

Non-fruiting Willamette raspberry plant in Wateford CA
May 23, 2013 - I have a 2 year old Willamette Raspberry plant that has many blooms, bees, great growing conditions, very healthy but has never set one fruit. I know about pruning. Any suggestions? It has been bloomi...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.